Category Archives: KDE

Acer AspireONE D255 Wireless Network and Kubuntu

One of the things I really love about the Ubuntu community is how helpful it is.  By following these easy directions,  I was able to get the wired network up and running on my netbook.  Yes, that’s right.  I have a situation where the wireless works and the wired doesn’t!  Even stranger, the fix is in an wireless network adapter package!

Because I’ve been burned by stale links, I’m going to repeat some information here.

Netbook:  Acer AspireONE D255

Wireless (lspci):
01:00.0 Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications AR8152 v1.1 Fast Ethernet (rev c1)
02:00.0 Network controller: Intel Corporation WiFi Link 1000 Series

The steps:

  1. Go here ( and download “compat-wireless-2.6.tar.bz2”
  2. Run the following commands:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install build-essential
cd ~/Desktop
tar -xjvf compat-wireless-2.6.tar.bz2
cd compat-wireless*
scripts/driver-select atl1c
sudo make install

At this point a reboot should load the network driver.  For me, the “sudo make install” took a very long time.  Well, 10 minutes.  But it felt like an eternity.

If a reboot doesn’t load the module, try “modprobe atl1c” (that’s ay-tee-el-one-cee).

And that was it.  Lovely!  Again, I can’t promote the friendliness and helpfulness of the Ubuntu community enough.  They have been great.

Update 2011-03-30: I had to repeat these steps after upgrading to kernel 2.6.32-28 or -29.  But it worked.


Steps in the KDE development direction

I embarked on a simple investigation today:  get kdevelop setup on one of my machines so I could start learning how to develop under KDE.  The first lesson was to get my environment right (Kubuntu 64-bit 10.04):

525  export KDEDIR=/usr
527  export KDEDIRS=/usr
535  export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/lib/kde4:/usr/lib/qt4:$LD_LIBRARY_LIB
537  export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/lib/kde4:/usr/lib/qt4:/usr/include/KDE:$LD_LIBRARY_LIB
539  export KDE4_INCLUDES=/usr/include/KDE

Then came the actual coding which, once the above was done, was quite easy.  I followed the tutorial here and modified it slightly to add a custom “No” button.  Simple small step, but progress nonetheless!

KDE 4.4 Upgrade and Debug Package Problems

I find it funny the day after I make a glowing comment about support in FOSS projects, I run into a snag that is not documented anywhere.

I filed a bug on it, but was able to resolve it myself.  Trying to look at this from a newbie or non-technical point of view, I’m not sure how I would have reached the same conclusion.  I happen to know that all *-dbg packages are “debug” packages and are therefore implicitly optional.  Removing them was a reasonable step, and it happened to fix it.

However, as a normal end-user, I am not likely to have known about this.  In fact, when seeking help, I may have been asked to install these packages to gather more information about a problem.

This is not a good problem to have during an upgrade process.  But I did draw this problem down upon myself by installing packages from the backports.  However, I seem to recall this same issue when performing a supported upgrade from the previous version of the distribution (Kubuntu 9.04) to the current version (Kubuntu 9.10).

Dual-Head and Graphics Cards

I now have a dual-head configuration using an HP 2509m and a Samsung SyncMaster 204B.  I am certainly enjoying the extra space though I am still sorting out how to get KDE to handle some things nicely — like when I start a program from krunner, I’d like it to start on the screen where krunner appeared, not the active screen as determined by the last active program.

A mere nit.

I thought I was going to have to replace my graphics card because running two monitors hooked up with one on DSUB and one on DVI caused the GPU fan to run constantly at max speed.  Connecting them both with DSUB works normally — though I notice compositing is temporarily disabled, so we’ll see what happens when that is re-enabled.  However, I now have knowledge of a utility called nvclock and it is most useful in monitoring and setting certain features of the card.

So the good news (for me) is that I can keep my card.  I am increasingly thankful for that since it has a unique collection of features.  The eVGA nVidia 7900 GS KO has a 256 bit memory interface with a mere 256M of RAM, but it is GDDR3.  Getting out of this card and into a true upgrade will cost me more than I want to pay right now.

My next task is to raise the hutch on my desk to admit the second monitor under it.  A little bit of carpentry to keep me entertained among the technology.

krdc, Windows XP, and bb4win

I am retrying krdc.  There appears to have been a number of nice feature changes including the ability to grab all keys which means all of my keyboard shortcuts in bb4win now work.  However, I notice a few oddities that I need to follow-up with at some point.

  1. If I have my auto-hiding panel at the top of the screen in KDE, it interferes with the krdc icon-bar restoring when I move my cursor to the top of the screen
  2. My mouse cursors don’t appear normally
  3. bbLeanSkin’s feature of edge-snapping does not work
  4. AltKey (non-bb4win) does not work — so my alt-RMB and alt-LMB mouse functionality does not work and I miss it.
  5. GoToMeeting ends up interfering with a lot of the cursor events when I am remoted in — which could just be a krdc issue

I am attempting this setup to determine if this works or if maybe a 4-port KVM might be a better option than my previously thought up crazy scenario.

Monitor Arrival HP2509m

My new monitor arrived yesterday and I am very impressed at how smoothly Kubuntu handled recognizing the new resolution automatically.  Very nice indeed.  I have a few nits about the monitor, but I am going to wait so I can also state how I resolve them.  I do not believe any of them are critical to the point to make me get rid of it.  (Incidentally, that would probably be at a profit since I paid $35 for it — thanks to Verizon — and even selling it at a steal would put me ahead.  I am still tempted since I would ideally get into another 1600×1200 monitor and thus end up with a 3200 x 1200 desktop…  beats 1900×1080 by just a bit, eh?)

A nice thing I will say immediately is that my fonts seem a little crisper.  That’s very nice.

Anyway, my brain is now hatching a strange and lunatic plan to maybe use my old monitor and have something wild running.

1600×1200 . 1900×1080 . laptop screen
/ switch \ / switch (monitor) \ / |
fronk (vga) archon (vga) . archon (dvi) laptop (vga) . laptop (built-in)
. synergy

That madness needs a little explanation.

  • I have 3 machines:  fronk, archon, and my work laptop.
  • I have a KVM switch to toggle between fronk and archon; I can set that up to use the 1600×1200 monitor.
  • I can use the DVI connector on archon’s video card to feed into the new monitor.
  • I can connect the laptop to the new monitor using the VGA out.
  • I can use synergy to share my keyboard between archon and my laptop.

So what I could do it keep the 1600×1200 monitor between archon and fronk.  I can then share the 1900×1080 monitor between my laptop and archon.

The upshot is the following:

  • working hours:  archon on the 1600×1200, laptop on the 1900×1080 and built-in 1900×1200 — and I get to use a real keyboard and mouse, hopefully fostering better posture.  I should still be able to control things like my music player just by moving the mouse back over to the 1600×1200 monitor thus returning focus to archon.
  • personal hours:  archon gets both — and I get a HUGE amount of monitor real estate
  • working on fronk:  I am trying to turn fronk into nothing more than a file server.  However, sometimes I need to check the console to resolve boot issues (like accidentally bumping the eSATA cable and causing drive mount issues).

It’s a mad plan, but sounds like fun!

Why I Use Kubuntu

I was reading this blog entry over here about Kubuntu hating and thought I’d expand my thoughts about why I like Kubuntu.  This expands on my entry on why I chose Linux.

I think the first key point is that I like the Debian underpinnings but without having to deal with constructing a usable system wading through esoterica.  At the time I made my switch to Linux, Debian was pretty strong, and I was not well versed in getting a system running “from scratch”.

I also like the 6 month release cycle of Ubuntu.  That helps keep new features fresh in the distribution without having to wait an indeterminate amount of time before the next version.  However, this is also a shortcoming.  It seems that I just about get my system updated when there is a new release — and the answer to just about every problem is “are you running the latest?”.  In my opinion, this is a problem with Ubuntu in general and there needs to be a better way to fix problems or answer problems without pushing people through the versions.  I have even gotten this answer when using the Long Term Support (LTS) release.  To me, that is unacceptable.  However, I tolerate it because there is more that I like.

In a similar vein, the Ubuntu community was a huge factor.  The Debian and Gentoo communities at the time were practically condescending and even patrnoizing at times.  There is a lot of good information out there, but the people were nearly intolerable.  Thankfully, it appears things have changed.  I was coming over from Red Hat and I didn’t particularly like the community there either.  Again, it appears things have changed some and that is a good thing.  I also looked at OpenSUSE, Arch Linux, Mint, Sabayon, straight FreeBSD, and a few others.  Kubuntu just worked — I liked that.

Looping back to Debian for a moment, I actually, strangely, like the licensing policy.  I like that the install is FOSS to start with and there is the ability to install items that are more restrictively licensed.  I’d at least like to start with a FOSS system and then pick what restricted license items I’ll use.

Software options are another thing I like.  While I know how to compile things, I’d like to use packages so removal is (theoretically) cleaner.  It’s at least cleaner than some windows uninstalls I’ve done…  I dealt with RPM packages and I dislike them enormously.  I have had a better time with DEB packages.

That just about covers the basics of ‘buntu itself.  Now on to the K part of Kubuntu.

I like KDE.  There.  I said it.  I actually like the general window manager paradigm it models, and I think KDE4 is a really good leap.  My particular like is the familiar model as well as the configuration options of KDE in general.  KDE3 was very configurable and KDE4 is catching up.

My software preferences end up playing into it to some extent, but in the end I use a mixed Qt / GTK system.  I like OpenOffice and Firefox (GTK), but greatly prefer Dolphin and Amarok (Qt) over the GTK equivalents.

But what keeps me with Kubuntu itself?  The general ease of install.  I tried Gentoo.  I tried Debian.  I tried Sabayon.  I tried Mint.  I tried Arch Linux, and more.  In the end, I just liked the clean install of Kubuntu, and how much was so easily available for it as part of the Debian-based family.

Despite my likes, I do have my nits.  Do I file bugs with Launchpad (Canonical/Ubuntu) or KDE?  If I want to contribute, where do I contribute?  When something is fixed in KDE it seems to take a month or more to make it into Kubuntu — and then usually only in the Alpha or Beta of the next version.  But my biggest nit is that the Kubuntu mission statement seems to be sorely absent.  I don’t know where they are going with this; and I don’t really know where KDE is going.  Serendipity seems to keep things moving forwards and I keep hoping that it will continue.  And, someday, I hope to have some time to give back… once I figure out how to.